Thursday, September 9, 2010

We Expect More for Our Teachers

MVRCS has been commended for their ability to amass over 10 million dollars in these tough economic times. We do not take issue with this except in issues that have had a direct and negative impact on the educational experiences of our children. Mr. Kinnon has been clear in his belief that success in the classroom is not dependent on having quality teachers as he has stated that ‘a monkey could be trained to deliver this material’ (regarding the direct instruction methodology) and his refusal to pay teachers competitive salaries (as he believes once they are trained they would leave for union positions). We question these practices and beliefs as much focus has been placed on the importance of quality teachers within the classroom. The school has demonstrated their inability to hire and retain teachers as the high turnover is obvious to parents and was noted in DSES site visit reports. In speaking to staff members it has become clear that little emphasis is placed on the interview process and does not begin to compare to the hiring process within other schools. The fact that MVRCS has employed recruitment firms to assist in locating candidates is concerning as few other districts incur this expense. Has the school truly had to resort to recruiting staff from other states as a result of the questionable working conditions within MVRCS? If so, at what expense? Are the individuals who conduct the hiring interviews qualified to do so? Has the school become so desperate for staff that they will hire any ‘monkey’ that walks through the door in the hopes that they can ‘trained’?While that would be acceptable for some positions, we do not feel that the school is capable of and/or following through on conducting this ‘training’ (or more importantly, mentoring and investing in their new teachers).

The schools high turnover rate indicates that the issue is much bigger than the training of their ‘monkeys’ (and we must say that the lack of respect for teachers and the teaching profession is disturbing to us as parents, and can only imagine how this makes dedicated teachers feel). We would imagine that this very open attitude has had negative implications on the morale of teachers and staff. We’ve all heard of companies that have little or no turnover yet employees are underpaid as a result of the industry, economy, or finances of the company. In many of these instances these companies are able to retain their employees (who are loyal and dedicated) is often the appreciation, respect, and trust they share with their employer. This does not seem to be the case at MVRCS as we hear of a climate where employees don’t trust each other or the Administration and Board, teachers and staff feeling unappreciated, and have little say in their school. A feeling of inequality among the staff is ever present as the standards and expectations vary greatly and are determined by connections and willingness to conform. Staff members are commended (and rewarded) for the reporting of colleagues and their willingness to not question or challenge the manner in which things are done (even when in violation of laws governing education). Given these circumstances it is no the school experiences such a high turnover rate among its faculty and staff.
As parents we are concerned with the Boards lack of respect and low priority on the hiring and retaining of high quality and qualified professionals. Many of us have witnessed firsthand and with great disappointment, the high departure rate of teachers (some of their own doing, others at the hands of the Board and Administration) we felt were exemplary and dedicated to the education of children. We feel that the hiring and retention of staff (who are NOT hired as a result of a relationship or association but rather as a result of their credentials and experiences) should be a top priority to ensure the future and continued success of our children.


  1. Get the excess baggage out and put the money towards keeping the good teachers (not just the ones who are not bothered by the slimy tactics of certain individuals).

  2. As a former MV teacher, I was sent a link to your blog by a current teacher. I am glad to see a dialogue has begin, and I hope the writers and readers will use this blog only to improve the school, rather than bash others or write uninformed comments. That said, I'd love to share my two cents...

    I taught at the school for three years, which is, sadly, a high number for most MV staff. I did see many positives during those years. Most teachers there are committed and focused on the teaching and learning of their students. The administration is supportive of teacher decisions involving discipline and negative student behaviors. Most parents I worked with only had their child's best interest in mind. They clearly chose the school because they wanted, what they thought, was the best for their children.

    That said, reading this post brought me back to the negative feelings that surrounded me during my time there. I continually worked 10-12 hours days, sometimes up to 15 hours during conference weeks. The school required us to be there on some weekend days during that time as well. While I was happy to put in my time to help my students succeed, the lack of respect for teachers forced me to leave in the end. There was no respectful dialogue between administration and teachers about how to improve student achievement and classroom environments. The school did not support any professional development for teachers, with the exception of some DI ("monkey") training. I never felt like I could ask for help, suggestions, or give my opinion on what I felt was best for my students.

    When I left MV to work at a public school, I got 15 less students in my class, a $15,000 raise, a shorter school year and day, and more importantly, the feeling that I was a trusted professional.

    I firmly believe a school is only as strong as its teachers, the front line. I don't think MV can be successful until they create an equitable teaching environment for their staff. Teachers should be compensated for their work appropriately, trusted to give their professional opinion without fear, and given opportunities to grow and learn outside of the MV box.